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Clear Solar Cells Could Help Windows Generate Power

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the power-up dept.

Power 87

ckwu writes "The vast real estate of windows in office buildings and skyscrapers could be a fruitful field for harvesting solar energy—if lightweight solar cells could be made with a high enough conversion efficiency and appealing aesthetics. Now researchers at Oxford University report semitransparent solar cells that might do the trick. The team made solar cells using a perovskite, a class of mineral-like materials that have properties similar to inorganic semiconductors and show sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiencies of more than 15%. The team deposited a thin film of perovskite onto glass so that the material formed tiny crystalline islands. The islands absorb photons and convert them to electrons, while light striking the empty areas passes through. The result was a semitransparent solar cell with a grayish tint."

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87 comments

Make a business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45741855)

Get them to contact window companies and government / corporate builders.

Why only limit to windows ? (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 3 months ago | (#45744525)

If the material Perovskite is as good as they say it is, why limit the application on only the windows ?

We can apply the same thing to walls, to roof, even to pavements, so long as the sunlight can shine on them they get to generate electricity.

Heck, we can apply it on the car windows and car body surfaces as well, and and store the power inside the battery - or use it to run, aka that solar car in the Logan Run's tv series (it was aired in the 1970's, far too old for the young uns to enjoy)

It's not about places to put them. (2, Insightful)

briancox2 (2417470) | about 4 months ago | (#45741883)

The challenges for mass-adoption of solar cells having nothing to do with convenient locations to put them. Nearly all home-owners have a roof that they can access.

The challenges for solar cell adoption are:
Cost-effective manufacturing methods
The market price of silicon
Efficiency of conversion
Storing the energy for when it's required (or moving it to where it is helpful)
and Durability

When those problems are REALLY solved, we won't need to have dark windows to generate our energy needs. And we won't need to burn coal. But we're a long way from solving all of those problems.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45741995)

When those problems are REALLY solved, we won't need to have dark windows to generate our energy needs

I think the point of this was that windows are already darkened in office buildings. The solar cells are just a different darkening process that has a nice side-effect of actually generating energy.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (3, Interesting)

dwywit (1109409) | about 4 months ago | (#45742027)

What's the issue/s with durability? Mine are warranted for 80% of claimed output up to 20 years (BPSolar), the rooftop mounts are cyclone-rated, and the panels themselves are rated for hail up to (can't remember right now) size.

I've had people ask me about this great offer they've had from some local start-up that offers them cheap chinese panels with a five-year warranty, and I tell them to say "no" until they are offered well-known brands with better warranties. At least those people were smart enough to ask around for advice and opinions - I suppose others who don't ask for advice and opinions might get stuck with poor durability.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (2, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#45742143)

These are thin film solar technology that has less than a 3 year lifespan. they lose nearly 30% of their power output withing 8 months. It is the same junk as the solar panels sold at Harbor Freight.

Citation needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45744733)

These are thin film solar technology that has less than a 3 year lifespan. they lose nearly 30% of their power output withing 8 months

Could you kindly provide us with citation, please ?

If you can provide us with ways to identify "junk solar panels" from the good ones, it would greatly help all of us to avoid those "junks".

Thank you !

Re:Citation needed (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 months ago | (#45747711)

Very simple. Thin film on glass = junk.

Actual silicon solar cells = good.

Mono crystalline = very good.

Citation? try www.google.com and my experience at wasting a LOT of money on the garbage sold at Harbor Freight, Sears, Home Depot, etc... if it's a "brown" color and a sheet of glass they are complete garbage.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (2)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 4 months ago | (#45742047)

This isn't really intended for the home-owner. You're right there--I probably have more space on my roof than the square footage of my windows.

This is for the tall office building in a city. Those tend to have more square-footage in windows than the space available on the roof.

That said, I'd be curious about other buildings blocking the sun in a crowded area.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 months ago | (#45742061)

You are missing a big point. Windows already cost money. The added cost of making them produce power is all that needs to be justified here.

Second, windows need not be "darkened" to provide solar power. Most of the energy in sunlight is not in the visible spectrum.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#45742135)

Glass is $0.25 a square foot. Solar Cells that have any real efficiency and longevity cost $2.25 a square foot. The bog point is there is barely 10% offset on cost, and these same windows will generate less than 20% of what a normal panel can generate so their economy is even less. Add in losses by being vertical and not tilted to the sun and they will generate 5% of the electricity than a standard cell on the roof will.

So yes, he is missing a big point, these things are worthless as a technology unless used on vaery large mostly glass buildings as a supliment to the existing solar generation system if the contractor can afford a 500% increase in cost of the windows.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 3 months ago | (#45742247)

Except there is no correlation between the cost of this new type of cell and traditional cells, since there is no silicon in these ones and the manufacturing process is completely different.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 months ago | (#45742299)

If you think the cost of glass at $0.25/sf has anything to do with the cost of the windows installed in an office building (or even a home) then you have never bought any.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45745493)

This.

Look up the term "curtainwall" and you'll understand just how true the parent post is. There are entire engineering and construction companies that specialize in nothing but curtainwalls.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 3 months ago | (#45742449)

Right. This technology looks like a way to make less efficient PV cells, mounted in less efficient configurations, at a likely greater cost. Now, if you could get the cost down extremely low and have high durability, it might not matter that vertical mounting is not efficient. But it would seem to be more cost effective to make an opaque siding instead.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#45742539)

Second, windows need not be "darkened" to provide solar power.

In a lot of places the windows are tinted anyway.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (4, Insightful)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about 4 months ago | (#45742073)

The challenges for solar cell adoption are:
Cost-effective manufacturing methods
The market price of silicon
Efficiency of conversion
Storing the energy for when it's required (or moving it to where it is helpful)
and Durability

The price of silicon isn't the biggest problem now. Solar cells are already at parity with coal in India [thinkprogress.org], and keep getting cheaper every year.

Efficiency is generally sufficient. A house's whole roof can generally power it.

Durability also isn't generally an issue. Solar cells usually last for upwards of 20 years.

The primary challenges now are:
Installation costs
Electrical connection costs (i.e. an inverter)
and Storage (or grid hookup costs)

Re:It's not about places to put them. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 3 months ago | (#45743285)

Those problems are all solved too (home battery packs have been available for some time). The only barrier left is the up-front cost.

Missed One (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 3 months ago | (#45744631)

The primary challenges now are: Installation costs
Electrical connection costs (i.e. an inverter)
and Storage (or grid hookup costs)

Power companies lobbying for more obstacles and increased costs to be placed in front of consumers daring to consider panels.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 3 months ago | (#45744891)

Efficiency is generally sufficient. A house's whole roof can generally power it.

I use my spare bedroom to host an Amazon AWS edge location, you insensitive clod! I need a lot more than a roof full of solar!

Re:It's not about places to put them. (1)

SonnyDog09 (1500475) | about 3 months ago | (#45744947)

Efficiency is generally sufficient. A house's whole roof can generally power it.

Unless the roof is covered with snow, like it is for several months of the year. Unless you live in the tropics.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45745149)

Plenty rooftop installs around here. Also plenty snow.
You don't see covered panels until you have well over 2' on the ground.
And even then it's generally only old-style panels on shallow angle roofs.
So if you have panels getting covered several months of the year... why are you doing a PV install in northern Alaska?

Re:It's not about places to put them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45746409)

Gee, and there I was in Germany, looking at all the places with solar on the roof top. I guess they don't get any use out of them in the winter, right?
And really, how hard would it be to have a small section of the glass be heated to 35 F any time the temp is less than 32 F? That small section will then allow light to get in, heating rest of the solar panel, melting the snow. Or do you not know about the problems they have with keeping solar panels cool?

Re:It's not about places to put them. (1)

briancox2 (2417470) | about 3 months ago | (#45747821)

The price of silicon taken at one moment in time is not what I meant by market price. Market price fluctuates and the silicon market is capable of large fluctuations.

I live in the Seattle area. No they are not generally capable of powering a home. Only if you pick and choose where you will evaluate the criteria, are they.

Durability is an issue when you live in the midwest where hail, ice and heavy snow can damage just about anything on your roof. You have to insure the solar panel, which then increases the cost.

Regarding you "evidence link", be careful using agendize reporting for financial information. When you are promoting an agenda you cannot really be trusted for financial prediction. Valuable finacial prediction requires an unbiased look at MANY points of view. Not just one. Especially not just one that cherry picks its stories.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about 4 months ago | (#45742105)

The key difference between putting solar panels on a roof and fitting these windows is the electricity producing windows are fitted in place of ordinary glass windows.

The cost of the units is offset by not having to buy ordinary window glass. That should make a difference in payback costs and break even point.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (1)

briancox2 (2417470) | about 3 months ago | (#45747263)

...and people would have to pretend they like tinted windows.

Being forced to have tinted windows is not preferred. You can bet that if these get put on some skyscraper, the boss's windows will be exempt from having these installed.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (2)

jxander (2605655) | about 3 months ago | (#45743197)

The problem is comparing a home owner to a corporation.

Sure it's not as cost effective, and doesn't really address the main hurdles with solar... but it looks great on a PR report and it's certainly not coming out of the CEO's pockets.

Silicon should be cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45743287)

Silicon should be fairly cheap: it makes up about 28% of the earths crust by mass, second only to oxygen. Of course it's rarely pure, but its widely available. I know whenever I go to the beach, I wind up getting silicon dioxide in the car if I don't wipe my feet very well.

Paying to distribute the surplus electricity (3, Interesting)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 3 months ago | (#45743437)

Another challenge is the fines and penalties for installing solar cells on your roof. [theguardian.com]

An alliance of corporations and conservative activists is mobilising to penalise homeowners who install their own solar panels- casting them as "freeriders" - a sweeping new offensive against renewable energy, the Guardian has learned.

These people are actually freeloaders but of course he can't say what they really are because of political correctness that forces him to use softer words like "freeriders".

Further details of ALEC's strategy were provided by John Eick, the legislative analyst for ALEC's energy, environment and agriculture program.

Eick told the Guardian the group would be looking closely in the coming year at how individual homeowners with solar panels are compensated for feeding surplus electricity back into the grid.

"This is an issue we are going to be exploring," Eick said. He said ALEC wanted to lower the rate electricity companies pay homeowners for direct power generation - and maybe even charge homeowners for feeding power into the grid.

"As it stands now, those direct generation customers are essentially freeriders on the system. They are not paying for the infrastructure they are using. In effect, all the other non direct generation customers are being penalised," he said.

Eick dismissed the suggestion that individuals who buy and install home-based solar panels had made such investments. "How are they going to get that electricity from their solar panel to somebody else's house?" he said. "They should be paying to distribute the surplus electricity."

I don't want sewage electricity being forced down my throat after it's been on some other guy's filthy roof already! I'm an American; I have a right to choose clean electricity!

In November, Arizona became the first state to charge customers for installing solar panels. The fee, which works out to about $5 a month for the average homeowner, was far lower than that sought by the main electricity company, which was seeking to add up to $100 a month to customers' bills.

IN THE BEGINNING God created heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was floating on the surface of the waters. God said "let there be light" and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness with a thin film of perovskite on glass so that the material formed tiny crystalline islands. The islands absorbed photons and converted them unto electrons, whilst light striking the empty areas passed through. And God saw that it was good. Then God said "let the rooftops sprout with panels: panels bearing light from the heavens"; the ceilings brought forth electricity, freeriders yielding current with voltage in it, unto the grid. And God saw that it was good. Then to be fair he charged the freeriders $100 per month, which Arizona reduced to $5, for those who drilled the formless void of the earth for the Spirit of God, and have to distribute the unwanted surplus electricity. And God saw that it was good.

Re:It's not about places to put them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45743533)

Any one who takes a look will see that solar has been on about a 40 percent PA growth rate for about 25 years now. It is not about "REALLY" solving anything anymore, it is really just about leaning back and watching it completely take over the energy market in about the next 15-25 years.
The lack of batteries could hold it back for awhile, but again, that is really just a matter of ramping up production (already predicted to grow a factor of 10 in the next 8 years).

Could... May... Might... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45741899)

It seems that no headline or story is written anymore without these weasel words that render the subject matter impotent.

Semi transparent cells could, but don't/won't.
Semi transparent cells might, or might not and probably won't.
Semi transparent cells may, but doesn't.

How about we get some tech that actually does shit. Why can't the next headline read; not so spectacular evolutionary tech does get the job done and improves performance ~5%. It will cost more and then later cost less.

Seems like a dumb idea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45741903)

Seriously, unless you can make these absorb energy only in wavelengths we actually don't want in the house, it seems like all we'd be doing is generating electricity, which we'd then burn trying to substitute the light we filtered out. If these capture either IR, or visible light (and they deffinately capture visible light), then we're just going to end up turning on more light bulbs, and heaters to compensate for them.

Re:Seems like a dumb idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45742091)

Unless the lights were always going to be turned on indoors anyway. I can't think of a single large office building where the natural light would reach so far into the building to prevent needing supplemental lighting. Something like this would help shift the building towards a zero carbon footprint however the technology needs to be more efficient and cost effective first.

Re: Seems like a dumb idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45742097)

Not only that but putting solar cells on the sides of buildings is stupid to begin with. Half of the building is always going to be in the shade just by the nature of being a building but when do you ever see buildings on their own? Only the outlying, south facing (in the us and Canada) building would be getting sun all day. Also the angle at which the sun bits the panels is so great that you will be getting only a few watts per square meter of available energy before electrical losses. Solar is only good in a few places (closer to the equator the better) as you get too far north and south you have to put them too far apart to avoid overlapping shadows and you have to keep tilting them throughout the seasons. Pick alternative energy sources to match the location they are most suited to, you can just slap solar cells on everything and call it "green"

Re: Seems like a dumb idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45742317)

It's "stupid" only because existing crystalline silicon solar cells are barely cheap enough to pay for themselves when placed at optimal angles. If solar cells can be made for next to nothing, it indeed does make sense to plaster every open square feet on your house with them. (Before anyone butts in, yes, you do have to take the cost of wiring and inverter into account.)

Re: Solar Powered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45742727)

They should do it the liberals to piss off the engineer...liberal solar/wind engineering TAKERS!

Re:Seems like a dumb idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45742133)

The windows capture light and make electricity to run lights... or whatever else you want to plug in :)
But seriously, did you miss the "clear" part in the headline? These "windows" will still be windows!
Oh well, I'm not to impressed by solar tech, I think we should all have an array of Sterling engines heated by a lens in our backyards.
Nothing like wakin' up to the PFFF-THUNK PFFF-THUNK PFFF-THUNK PFFF-THUNK of free energy!

Re:Seems like a dumb idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45742365)

1) If you transmit all the sunlight in the wanted wavelengths into the house, you'd burn electricity trying to counter the sun heat with air conditioning. (You do keep the house well insulated, right? right??)

2) Excess electricity can be stored in batteries and used at night or when cloudy.

Aesthetics? (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | about 4 months ago | (#45741915)

When has aesthetics ever played a role in how the glass and steel monstrosities were erected? If the owner thought they could make some extra money, they'll be tacked on, no matter how ugly.

Hmmm.. When did I get so cynical?

Re:Aesthetics? (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#45741939)

...because the renters like aesthetics.

It'd probably be cheaper to not put in windows (and not heat/cool a building with windows), but people like them.

Any bit helps... (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 4 months ago | (#45741917)

I'm all for solar windows on buildings. It doesn't bring in that much energy per unit area, but on a large, multi-story building, the energy obtained can be substantial.

This is useful for both on-grid use (to help lower power bills), as well as off-grid use (power to be stored in batteries and used with PSW inverters for very clean power in the structure.)

Stuff like this isn't revolutionary, but with energy use, any step helps.

Wait wait wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45741933)

The first posts here are all skeptical. When we have 3D printing stories we're all three weeks away from Star Trek. Or has 3D hype died down recently?

Already Here. (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 4 months ago | (#45741953)

They already have these in Japan, made ironically by an American (good old USofA) company.

Re:Already Here. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45742065)

Have any links about that? Preferably in English?

How do they do that? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45742031)

The islands absorb photons and convert them to electrons

Really?

Re:How do they do that? (1)

theronb (1170573) | about 3 months ago | (#45742847)

Really. It's called the photoelectric effect - some guy named Einstein wrote a paper about it about 100 years ago.

Re:How do they do that? (3, Informative)

Muros (1167213) | about 3 months ago | (#45743939)

Wrong. The photoelectric effect explains how electrons energized by photons can escape their atomic bonds. It does not involve photons being converted into electrons.

Re:How do they do that? (1)

theronb (1170573) | about 4 months ago | (#45751649)

Photons can be converted directly to electrons (and positrons) in the process known as pair production, providing the photons are of sufficiently high energy. That is not, of course, what happens in the photoelectric effect, but I had understood the intent of statement in the summary to mean that light energy was being converted to electrical current, even though it was not phrased correctly at the most literal level..

essay (1)

Dainutehvs (936606) | about 4 months ago | (#45742037)

Clear Solar Cells Could Help Windows Generate Power
Clear Windows Could Help Solar Cells Generate Power
Windows Could Help Solar Cells Generate Clear Power
Clear Power Could Help Windows Generate Solar Cells

If I had grey windows... (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 4 months ago | (#45742057)

If I had grey windows, I'd get less heat from open blinds in the Winter. I'd have to burn more gas.

That said, tinted windows on office building are already the norm so it could work in that setting. It all comes down to cost. Also, what kind of innovative code compliance will you need for wiring from every window?

Re:If I had grey windows... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#45742345)

Also, what kind of innovative code compliance will you need for wiring from every window?

It won't be that bad with grid-tie microinverters for every pair of windows or so. The complexity is comparable to adding lighting.

Re:If I had grey windows... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#45742573)

Not for you then but OK for probably more than half the world's population that live where it's not so cold.

Also, what kind of innovative code compliance will you need for wiring from every window?

Scraping the bottom of the barrel beyond the edge of reality there. Without anything resembling a product yet there is no answer so you can fill the void with FUD. Why are you doing so? For something so pointless you must have a stake for meaningless FUD.

Re:If I had grey windows... (0)

istartedi (132515) | about 3 months ago | (#45742655)

Dude, switch to a different strain or just toke once next time. The medical stuff is not like the ditch weed you smoked in high school.

Re:If I had grey windows... (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#45743121)

So that's the sort of person you are - building a drug addicted strawman no less. Why do you get such a bunch of complete arseholes every time some sort of type of progress in an alternative energy is mentioned? I'm in the fossil fuel industry and see no need for such mindless attacks on alternative energies so what's your excuse?

Re:If I had grey windows... (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 3 months ago | (#45743253)

Nerd fight! Nerd fight! Oh wait, I'm a participant. Would a disinterested 3rd party please mock us by shouting "Nerd fight! Nerd fight!"?

Sorry but I think this is just another example of how the Internet is a flawed communication medium. I can't imagine that it would be like this at a cocktail party.

I mean, try to imagine me with a beer in my hand saying, "Won't there be code compliance issues, since you're trying to route power around window frames?" and you immediately throwing down your martini and shouting "Industry Shill" before anybody has a chance to say, "chill out dude, He's just a programmer".

Obvious damning of new technology (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#45743579)

Raising code compliance issues when the item has not got as far as a prototype is taking a bit of an end run around reality. Thus I enquired as to why you wish to raise such unfounded fears, uncertainty and doubt.
I'm sick of such luddites that attack new technologies with such FUD when there is obviously no answer yet to the question raised. It's not even at the point where the standards that would be applied can be named let alone having something or a domestic electrician to wire up.
5V? 9V? 12V? 110V? How much current?
No answer yet.
Thus no answer to your deliberately unanswerable FUD question.


In a social situation you would get more subtle ridicule for such an end run around reality but here anything other than a blunt response to such deliberate manipulation seems to be taken as some sort of agreement.

Re:Obvious damning of new technology (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 3 months ago | (#45743615)

I don't think looking ahead to a future where this will require additional electrical code is "FUD". I'm sorry you don't see it that way. Let's say they did have a deliverable, and failed to consider installation issues until that day. Now *that* would be an "end run around reality". Anybody bringing product to market should definitely be considering how it will fit in the regulatory regime.

And while we're on the subject of products that haven't hit the market yet; that's a much more obvious criticism here. The Slashdot community of "ass holes" or whatever it was you said is skeptical because we've seen A LOT OF PROMISES THAT DIDN'T PAN OUT from companies that said they had some new PV tech. Remember a little company called Solyndra?

Anyway, I'm kinda done for the night. I have a late-night Illuminati disinterment meeting at the local grave yard. It'll be a long night, then I've gotta get up, recover from the blood hangover and get to the office in time to review the kitten-killing report. Damn that report. I hope they put the proper cover-sheet on it this time.

Re:Obvious damning of new technology (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#45743765)

Keep on digging that hole luddite until you can't see the sun and then you won't have to worry about that pesky solar power.

Re:Obvious damning of new technology (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#45743777)

Anybody bringing product to market

This is the sort of thing I mean - it's in the lab, years away from a prototype, obviously NOT "bringing product to market" any year soon and you are pushing this line.

Re:Obvious damning of new technology (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 3 months ago | (#45746417)

I'm sorry I wasted so much of your time and mine. I should have simply responded to your first post with this [badskeptic.com].

Re:Obvious damning of new technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45747569)

Well, considering no one except yourself called you a shill, you lose.

Pseudo Science... (-1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#45742119)

They would have to be horribly inefficient to allow most of the light through. So much that they would be useless in any installation other than an all glass high rise.
That pesky Laws of Physics getting in the way again.

Re:Pseudo Science... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45742215)

I think you need to check your definition of pseudo-science.
And RTFS: "...vast real estate of windows in office buildings and skyscrapers...efficiencies of more than 15%"

Re:Pseudo Science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45742253)

The summary is full of shit though. Neither links mention anything over 8%.

Re:Pseudo Science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45742305)

Non-transparent cell 16% efficient, 50% transparency should be 8% efficient.

Re:Pseudo Science... (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 3 months ago | (#45742557)

A 15% efficient cell mounted in a vertical position probably produces less per area than a 10% efficient cell mounted in an optimal position. And since 15% seems to be "optimistic", its just hard to see unless the price is way less than anything we've seen to date.

Re:Pseudo Science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45742257)

Yeah, collecting the sun's rays for energy never works, nobody can do that.

Kyocera should just tear down their Pseudo Scientific headquarters and give all the money they've made from their solar windows over the last decade to Big Oil, right Lumpy?

Re:Pseudo Science... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45742377)

why is it all you fucking idiots come here and spew forth the foamy poo that is your brain? please oh pleas go get some real education. Because you are so fucking stupid the people around you lost IQ points the closer they get to you.

Re:Pseudo Science... (4, Insightful)

bziman (223162) | about 3 months ago | (#45742277)

Speaking of pesky laws of physics, o hater of all things right and good...

According to Wikipedia, only about 44% of the sun's electromagnetic radiation that reaches the ground is in the visible light range. [wikipedia.org]. Photovoltaics are typically responsive to limited wavelength ranges. It would make perfect sense to tune semi-transparent photovoltaics to absorb radiation that falls outside the visible spectrum, while transmitting most of the visible light.

You get all the benefits of Low-E glass, plus electricity.

Re:Pseudo Science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45742281)

I for one would be fine with 50% transmission of light in my home, as I have blinds and curtains up to block way more light than that. Many car tints are around 15% transmission, so I could see it in cars as well as long as it does not create optical distortions.

Re:Pseudo Science... (4, Insightful)

anubi (640541) | about 3 months ago | (#45742925)

Car tints were exactly what popped in my mind when I saw this article.

We are beginning to design stuff into cars which continuously draws power, much like the numerous things in our homes that never turn completely off.

Solar cells built into car windshields can be used to mitigate the effects of a car not having its engine running. An owner of a solar-cell windshield equipped car will be able to return to his car, parked at an airport after it has sat unused for possibly several weeks, and have the battery fully charged upon his return. I have traveled and it has always been a concern to me whether the car will start after I have ignored it for a week.

Just a few hundred milliamperes going into the battery would have mitigated this concern.

I do agree with the posters who have already pointed out that using this for office building windows is a lot of wasted expensive effort for a negligible ( and likely negative sans tax credits ) return on investment, considering the cost of line power. A car in a parking lot usually has no line power available.

Re:Pseudo Science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45742487)

It's actually 100% efficient because it's not traditional PV, instead the panels are capturing photons, extracting all electricity from them, and releasing them again.

If simple light were enough to just generate electricity from, surely all floors in lighted rooms would be made of solar panels, and then the light would be recycled continuously.... but it doesn't work like that because that light has no spin. Polarized light (like from the sun) is what makes electricity through spin, and it turns out we can remove the spin without removing the light.

Headline is misleading (1)

fisted (2295862) | about 3 months ago | (#45742589)

Windows will never generate power, it will always consume power and much more so than a sane OS.

HOAs (1)

hurwak-feg (2955853) | about 3 months ago | (#45742715)

These are great for homeowners with HOAs that would consider rooftop panels an eye sore and not allow them. The amount of electricity a typical single family home would produce from these probably isn't impressive, but on a massive scale, this could save a lot of dead dinosaurs. For those outside of a country with strict homeowner's associations, there have been legal battles leading to foreclosures about things as silly as what color an owner paints their trim. Yes, most HOAs (in the US anyway) would not allow rooftop solar panels for aesthetic reasons.

These would do well in sunny climates (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 3 months ago | (#45742823)

Like Dubai.

That said, the main barriers are the cost to make PVs, and the storage of the energy itself.

Sunny climates could use the PV windows to generate electricity for cooling buildings, which is up to 40 percent of energy usage in a lot of the world, and even for vehicles to extend their running range, depending on the characteristics of the PV material.

Re:These would do well in sunny climates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45743409)

Germany has sunlight on par with Alaska, and it works there quite well.

What happens when they lock up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45742965)

Will the whole room turn blue during the day?

New/Different Chemistry? (1)

some old guy (674482) | about 3 months ago | (#45744505)

Enron (later BP) Solarex pursued what were called Building Integrated PV panels back in the 90's, but abandoned the project (later sold to US Solar I believe).

Solarex was using germane/silane-doped amorphous silicon deposition at the time. TFA doesn't go much into the actual engineering here.

Main concerns, as always in PV, were efficiency and initial cost.

What is new here?

Working on mass adoption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45748135)

35 Solar

www.35-solar.com

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